up to the Boston Scrabble® Club
The club meets every Monday evening of the year, except when it is a major holiday. For a minor holiday, it would be best to check with the director to determine if a session is scheduled. The club officially begins at 7:00 p.m., but someone could be there to open up 60-90 minutes ahead of that. The official stopping time is 10:00 p.m., but there is a possibility of remaining later. There has been some ambiguity about whether a stopping time must be honored.
There is no fee to attend this club.
The club provides boards (there is no need to bring a board), racks, and Protiles (some folks bring their own Protiles). Most of the club racks are wooden, so if you prefer something else, bring it. There are some chess clocks available, so it is not required to bring your own, but some players do. Chess clock use is encouraged, especially for those players who expect to play in tournaments. But if both players choose not to use a clock, that is OK. Beginners are encouraged to use a clock for practice, but they are not penalized for going overtime. This should be clarified before the game begins.
The club provides blank paper, but not real score sheets, so players are encouraged to bring their own paper for this purpose, perhaps preprinted with lines and letters for tracking. Preprinted tracking sheets are allowed in club and tournament play. You are also permitted to make notes during the game. The club has pencils for borrowing.
Contrary to many other Scrabble® clubs around the country, the evening is not arranged as uniform rounds, but play is more free. When you finish a game, you look for another opponent, sometimes with the aid of other club members. There is a tendency, but not a strict rule, to avoid repeating opponents, but that is up to the players involved. Most other clubs in the Boston area operate in the same manner.
There is usually a range of player strength, from novice to expert. However, the club attendance is typically 4-10 players, so it may be difficult to keep all games balanced. When there is an odd number of players, it is typical that someone who is willing will play two independent games simultaneously. On rarer occasions three players may enter into a trio of games, with each player playing two independent games.
There is a tendency for this club to be a bit informal. If you don't want to use a chess clock, you are not forced into using one. It is strongly suggested by the club director that players not intentionally play phonies, even though this is not considered an improper thing to do in competitive club and tournament play. Playing a word whose acceptability is unknown either way, but turns out to be unacceptable, is not deemed to be the playing of an intentional phony, according to that person.
Players who are not fully knowledgeable of all the two-letter words are encouraged to play with the aid of an "open-book" page of these words, which includes their meanings, and thus implies their inflected forms. Beginners are also given other study lists, such as the three-letter words, but these are not usually referenced "open-book" during a game.
Players who are new to the club and tournament scene are granted free challenges (with no loss of turn) and no overtime penalties for their first few sessions at this club. A player may decline these potential aids.
In club and tournament play, a challenge ruling is made based on the acceptability of all challenged words involved in the play. It is up to the challenger to say which words are being challenged before starting the adjudication procedure. All the challenged words are considered as a group, and they are either all acceptable, else the play is ruled unacceptable, with no further details.
A laptop computer running the WHAT program is often used at the club to rule on challenges and to do anagramming, mostly as part of game postmortems.
There is a sheet of paper employed to record all the games played at the club. The winner is expected to record the game by writing the winner's name, winner's score and number of bingos, loser's name, and loser's score and number of bingos. Ties too should be recorded - the responsibility is shared by the players. Although the sheet has a column to note number of bingos played, this statistic is not currently tracked in this club.
When Mike Cohen, the club statistician leaves early, he may take the game-recording sheet with him, in which case someone who stays through the end should take on the responsibility of notifying Mike of unrecorded game scores in a timely manner.